Gaelic bilingual road signs on roads leading to ferry ports: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Information requested


With reference to the introduction of Gaelic bilingual road signs on A82 and other trunk roads leading to ferry ports.

  • Please provide details of all complaints received by Transport Scotland relating to the signs since their introduction began in 2002.
  • The date on which each complaint was received.
  • A summary of each complaint and a copy of the Transport Scotland response.
  • The location of the complainants, e.g. Fort William, Oban etc. 
  • Please indicate whether the Scottish Government provided any funding to be used solely for the provision of the bilingual signs.

In 2009 the then Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson called a halt on the signs pending a review.

  • Please indicate the cost of the Transport Research Laboratory report and whether Transport Scotland met all the costs




As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations.  We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA. 

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’.  Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.  We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes.  This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.


Please refer to the table below which contains information in relation to complaints regarding bilingual signs.


Date Recevied



Sign placement


A82 (Tarbert and Inverness)

Annex A

Delay in implementing signs



Annex B

Signs distracting drivers



Annex C

Spelling Mistakes


A87 Lochalsh

Annex D

Replacement signage including Gaelic translation


A9 Longman Rounabout

Annex E

Why Gaelic is used



Annex F

Installation of bilingual signs



Annex G

An Seanbhaile spelling mistake


A82 near Onich

Annex H

Meadhan a’ Bhaile spelling mistake



Annex I

Malaig spelling mistake


A830 Drumsaille Junction

Annex I

Cuidreach spelling mistake



Annex I


Copies of each response from Transport Scotland is available at Annex A to Annex I. An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exception is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.

In relation to funding for bilingual signs, the information you have requested is available at the following link;


Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format.  

The Transport Research Laboratory study cost £160,912 (ex VAT), over three years.  It was started in 2008 and was published in August 2012.  Transport Scotland, through the Scottish Road Research Board, met all the costs of the project.


About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

foi-19-00222 Annexes A to I


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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